Saudi human rights activist attacked by men 'shouting about Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman' in London https://t.co/hOKltQlIaQ— ???? ??????? (@GhanemAlmasarir) September 16, 2018
A Saudi government critic claims he was allegedly attacked in the United Kingdom by at least two individuals, he believes, were associated with the Saudi government.
Ghanem al-Dosari, who is famous for satirical YouTube videos about the Saudi royal family, especially Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aka MBS, was leaving a coffee shop in London when two men started following them.
“After we walked 100m or so we were approached by two guys from behind,” Mr al-Dosari told The Independent. “They started shouting at me... they were saying ‘who are you to talk about the family of al-Saud?’ I think they knew where I was from Snapchat, they recognized me easily.”
There is also a video available of the alleged incident, which occurred on Aug. 31. It shows one man punch al-Dosari in the face as bystanders try to separate them.
Al-Dosari's friend, Alan Bender, who is a Canadian businessman, said the two men accused the YouTuber of being a "slave of Qatar," which underwent a diplomatic fallout with Saudi Arabia in June 2017, and threatened to "teach him a lesson." The other man also shouted abuse.
Bender claimed the men also yelled “how dare you curse Prince Salman, we won’t allow it” and also hurled insults at al-Dosari's family.
Al-Dosari and Bender reportedly filed a report with the police but so far no one has been arrested.
"I do not feel safe in London anymore. I am worried about my safety and also that of all other Saudi dissidents here," the YouTuber told The New Arab in an interview.
The London incident occurred around the same time as Saudi Arabia announced it will punish online satire with up to five years in prison and a hefty fine, as part of the kingdom’s extensive scheme to crackdown on dissidents.
MBS is often credited with bringing about the long-overdue reforms and, to some extent, he is indeed responsible for the recent progress but calling him a reformer, a revolutionary or a women's rights champion could be a stretch because he is certainly not all those things.
In May, under MBS' de-facto leadership, at least 11 human rights activists, most of them women who led the campaign against the driving ban on women, were arrested — just days before it was lifted.
In addition to arresting the activists without providing details of their supposed offenses, Saudi authorities have also denied them access to lawyers.
In addition, as defense minister, the crown prince also led Saudi Arabia into a major war in Yemen, which has led to devastation and massive loss of civilian life.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Getty Images